Improved situation awareness for autonomous taxiing through self-learning

As unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) become widely used in various civil applications, many civil aerodromes are being transformed into a hybrid environment for both manned and unmanned aircraft. In order to make these hybrid aerodromes operate safely and efficiently, the autonomous taxiing system of UAVs that adapts to the dynamic environment has now become increasingly important, particularly under poor visibility conditions. In this paper, we develop a probabilistic self-learning approach for the situation awareness of UAVs’ autonomous taxiing. First, the probabilistic representation for a dynamic navigation map and camera images are developed at the pixel level to capture the taxiway markings and the other objects of interest (e.g., logistic vehicles and other aircraft). Then we develop a self-learning approach so that the navigation map can be maintained online by continuously map-updating with the obtained camera observations via Bayesian learning. Indoor experiment was undertaken to evaluate the developed self-learning method for improved situation awareness. It shows that the developed approach is capable of improving the robustness of obstacle detection via updating the navigation map dynamically.